Stallone vs Schwarzenegger: Did the action icons bet about whose film will be bigger?

Adam Pockross
Movie Talk

Are there, or has there ever been, two bigger action stars than Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone?

No… and no. And the odds are good there never will be.

But the harder question to answer is: Who’s the biggest action star, Schwarzenegger or Stallone? It’s a question the two have been fighting over for years.

As members of the same “Expendables” team, the reigning kings of kicking butt may seem all buddy-buddy now, but it hasn’t always been that way. There’s a competitive streak that’s been brewing between them ever since Sly first met Arnold at the 1977 Golden Globes Awards, when as Stallone recounts, the “two piano movers” were seated at the same table.

[Related: Arnold Schwarzenegger's 'The Last Stand' Five Film Facts]

They were both Hollywood outsiders at that point, but that night went a long way to changing any such perception. Schwarzenegger received the Globe for Best Acting Debut in “Stay Hungry,” while Stallone’s breakout film “Rocky” was named Best Picture – Drama. When “Rocky” won, Stallone gleefully pulled a bunch of flowers off the table and tossed them in the air, spraying water everywhere.

“I thought that everyone would revel in the celebration, but, uh, no. I looked around and they were rolling their eyes. ‘A little social decorum, please.’ This is a crowd with, like, Warren Beatty and Streisand. But look, I never thought it would happen, I went absolutely ‘Jersey Shore’ on that one. The waiters liked it, I think. And Arnold was smiling, but, I dunno, maybe he was thinking, ‘Who is this guy?’” Stallone told Hero Complex.

[Related: More on Sylvester Stallone in 'Bullet to the Head']

Schwarzenegger took notice, and he’s been taking notice ever since. "We've always been really competitive. Who had the most muscles? Who had the most oil on their muscles?" Schwarzenegger joked at last year’s Comic-Con while promoting “The Expendables 2” (2012).

But please, we know it’s not just about the muscles, especially since, after all these years, the two are separated by a little more than a million dollars in terms of individual lifetime box office gross, with Schwarzenegger’s movies totaling just over $1.7 billion, while Stallone’s have grossed just over $1.8 billion.

[Related: Schwarzenegger and Stallone trade barbs at Comic-Con]

And as though that’s not enough to be competitive about, the two are even cutthroat about cutting throats. "Sly has killed 288 people. I've killed 289," continued Schwarzenegger.

With Schwarzenegger’s “The Last Stand,” opening this weekend and Sly’s “Bullet to the Head” opening February 1st, we were given the opportunity to sit down separately with both men. Knowing as much about their historic clash of the titans, we jumped at the opportunity to stoke the competitive flames. In the video below, we asked each man if there was a bet over which film would make more money and leave a bigger body count. The results, as we've come to expect from these icons of action, are ever entertaining.

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